Premature Appel on One of the Counts Pertaining to a Will

In In re Estate of Nicholson, 268 Ill. App. 3d 689, 644 N.E.2d 47, 205 Ill. Dec. 831 (1994), the plaintiff, who was the son and sole heir of the decedent, sued the Northern Trust Company (Northern), which served as executor under the decedent's will and as successor trustee under his declaration of trust. The plaintiff pled eight counts alleging that the will and trust were invalid. Northern's motion to dismiss was granted as to all counts, but the plaintiff was given leave to replead one of the counts pertaining to the will. The plaintiff appealed the dismissal of the other seven counts. The appellate court held that the appeal was premature, rejecting the plaintiff's argument that there was jurisdiction under Supreme Court Rule 304(b) (1). Focusing first on the trust counts, the court held that: "This rule does not apply to the counts involving the trust because this trust is not a 'similar proceeding' involving comprehensive court administration of an estate. The trust is being administered privately, out of court, without any court involvement such as court-approved administrators or a requirement of a final accounting to the court." Nicholson, 268 Ill. App. 3d at 693, 644 N.E.2d at 50.